Clicker training is an amazingly effective training tool. Often used by famous dog handlers and trainers, clicker training allows the dog to associate a correct behavior with an instant reward. This results in quicker learning, more prolonged retention and a better attitude. Use these simple tips as you work on clicker training your dog:
- Only Press the Clicker Once
Timing is everything in clicker training. Pet parents should take great care to press the clicker only once and only when the dog does what is asked of him. A rapid response on the part of the handler helps the dog to solidify the behavior in their head and results in quicker response times in the future. Many trainers advise thinking of the clicker as the shutter button on a camera – the handler should click the button as if to take a photo of the pet’s behavior.
- Follow Every Click with a Treat
As soon as the dog executes a correct behavior and the clicker is depressed, they should receive a treat. Some trainers believe that handlers have only three seconds to complete the entire loop from positive behavior to reward before the dog loses the association, so it is important to act quickly.
Keep treats in hand or in an easily accessible place to ensure speedy delivery. Doing this will solidify lessons quickly and help your dog to have a happy and positive training experience. If a pet has accomplished a particularly tough task, it is fine to deliver a “jackpot” of treats to reward the new behavior.
- Focus on One Behavior at a Time
Although it is perfectly fine to concentrate on several behaviors (such as “sit”, “lie down” and “shake”) during a training session, it is wise to focus on only one behavior at any given time. For example, if you have been asking your dog to lie down, do not suddenly change the command and to “shake”.